Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Healthy Balance for Mom's

The Beautiful Sawyer Family
Carrie & I are excited to share another guest blogger, Peggy Stocks Sawyer.  We have known her for over 15 years.  We were all avid pen pals way before there was texting.  She's a frequent reader, commenter and recent winner of one of our contests.  She is a true Smart Sassy Sister and we are thrilled to welcome her to the family and share her insight with you. 

Being a mom is hard. Being a mom with a full-time job is harder. Being a full-time teacher mom who still tries to cook, clean, play with the family, run errands, and do everything for everyone else can feel next to impossible. When you’re so busy keeping everyone else afloat, it’s easy to let yourself slide…especially when it comes to fitness. I know because that is my story.

My son arrived seven weeks early and threw us all off. Ever since, he’s been calling the shots at my house. He first his spent two weeks in the hospital nursery, which meant my new mommy-schedule included the 30 minute drive to and from the hospital, multiple times each day. When we brought him home, it was hard to find the energy to get dressed, much less cook, clean and work out. I lived my life in three hour increments: nurse him, change him, snuggle him back to sleep, clean something, catch an hour of sleep; lather, rinse, repeat. As he got older, his schedule changed a bit, but I fell into the Mommy Trap. Mommy came last. Always.

As my pre-pregnancy clothes got tighter and tighter, I realized that in putting everyone ahead of myself, I’d been putting myself dead last. And you know what? Allowing myself a little “me” time is okay. The time I put into making myself a better person now will pay off when I’m able to run with my son instead of watching him from the sidelines. My son deserves more than a fat mom.

I’m a work in progress, but here are some tips I’ve discovered that have helped me to end the cycle of mommy guilt and realize that in putting myself first a bit, I’m really helping my family.

1.       Cook. I hate cooking; my husband, son and I are all picky eaters. And I’d rather spend the time after school playing with my little boy than prepping in the kitchen. But when we go out, it is expensive and I eat garbage. Cook simple, healthy meals. I have my meats frozen in marinades or seasonings, ready to go. I now have a monthly calendar with recipes and ingredient lists sorted for each week. I don’t always stick to it, but it helps me to stay a day ahead in my prep work, which in turn cuts down the time in my kitchen.

2.       Don’t complain that you don’t have time. As a mom, you never will. You have to make the time. Yes, it stinks. Yes, your day is longer than you’d ever dreamed of. But if you plan ahead and get your spouse to help you, then you can do it. I get up at 4:40 every morning, workout from 5-5:45, then come home to get me and my son ready. After school, I hit the gym again before picking up my son. Then, it’s back home for cooking/laundry/baby time. I’m usually in bed within an hour or so after the baby is. It took a while to adjust, but the payoff is worth it.

3.       Sleep. Do it. Get enough. If you’re tired and grumpy, you’re not a good mom, spouse, or employee. Being tired makes you more likely to binge, drink that soda, or forget to plan a healthy meal. That dust is going nowhere, your lesson plans will still be there in the morning. But for now, you need a healthy amount of sleep that makes you function better and makes your body more efficient.

4.       Go Groupon. Try something new! Groupon (or similar sites) is a great way to try something different for cheap. I got a 10-visit pass for hot yoga for $30—and I loved it! I got one for Tae Kwon Do--20 bucks for a $244 value package of a uniform and lessons—and after one lesson, I realized it’s not for me. But I’m only out $20! My next adventure is a $300 summer boot camp for which I paid $35. With Groupon, it’s fun, it’s inexpensive, and if you don’t like it, you’re not committed with an expensive long-term contract. It’s the perfect way to sample new fitness ideas!

5.       Ditch the guilt. Stop it. So what if your husband put the baby to bed three nights this week? He needs baby time, too. Who cares if you didn’t get the den dusted? It doesn’t make you less of a person because your end tables are dirty. If you have time for Facebook and Pinterest, you have time for a workout.

Trying to find a balance with my time, family, and fitness is not easy. It changes from week to week. But with a supportive husband, I am learning to make it work. My son will have a healthy mom, and he will learn to make healthy fitness and eating choices by watching me. I can definitely make time for that!

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